What you really should know about returning to running postpartum
I was the anxious mom counting down the days until my 6-week postpartum visit so that I could start running again. I was the mom pushing her baby down the road in the new jogging stroller trying to prove to myself that my body WOULD “go back to normal” like I hadn’t just pushed a 7 ½# child out of my vagina a good month ago…like my body hadn’t taken 9 mths to grow & stretch. I expected it should look like it hadn’t done anything at all.
Not only did I have sleepless nights trying to figure out how to care for a newborn, I also had to look like none of it happened. I should look well-rested, in great shape, & like a super mom who can run several miles a day less than 2 mths postpartum.
I was given clearance to exercise at 6 weeks PP, so why not hop right in? I had some natural running ability…a short 2-mile run should be an easy place to start, right? I was told “everything was healed,” from my episiotomy turned 3rd-degree tear & I wasn’t given any limitations. No one talked to me about diastasis and no one was there to give guidance on returning to run, but I was a runner…I should know what to do.
I’d like to go back and shake this girl. I’d like to preach a little truth to her & over her postpartum body & the terrible expectations she had put on it, and then I’d like to give her a lesson in postpartum recovery and her unrealistic ideas of how to safely return to running.
Mamas…even if you have a PERFECT delivery, your body has still gone through a GREAT deal of change. Your pelvic floor and your abdominals have been stretched for NINE months, you possibly have gone through major surgery, or you have had your perineum torn, and though you might be “healed,” not all things are back to “normal,” nor should you feel like you need to be. Latest research is recommending 3-6 months of training before returning to run. Running is a high-level, dynamic form of movement that requires a lot from your core to help you move well and prevent injury. This is a big misconception in the postpartum population.
Getting cleared to exercise at 6 weeks PP does not mean, “You’re ready to run.” And if you’re running and you have any amount of leaking or pain, this *may* mean your core needs some help. It doesn’t mean, “This is just what it looks like to run when you’re a mom.” No. You CAN run well and ENJOY running, but let’s help you get there SAFELY!
If you’d like help getting back into running, want help running without leaking or pain, or just want help bridging the gap between that 6-week appointment and doing what you WANT to do, I’d love to serve you and help you develop a plan!